Damage awards for wrongful foreclosure are rising across the country. In New Mexico a judge issued a $3.2 million judgment (including $2.7 million in punitive damages) against Wells Fargo for foreclosing on a man’s home after his death even though he had an insurance policy through the bank that paid the remaining balance on his mortgage. The balance “owed” on the mortgage was $125,000. Despite the fact that the bank knew about the insurance (because it was purchased through the bank) Wells Fargo continued to pursue foreclosure, ignoring the claim for insurance. It is because of cases like this that people are asking “why would they do that?”
The answer is what I’ve been saying for years. Where a loan is subject to claims of securitization, and the investment banks lied to insurers, investors, guarantors and other co-obligors, they most likely have been paid many times for the same loan and never gave credit to the investors. By not crediting the investors they created the illusion of a higher balance that was due on the loan. They also created the illusion of a default that probably never occurred. But by pursuing foreclosure and foreclosure sale, they compounded the illusion and avoided claims for refund and repayment received from third parties and created claims for recovery of servicer advances. In many foreclosures that I have reviewed, payments received from the FDIC under loss-sharing were never taken into account. Thus the bank collects money repeatedly for a loss it never incurred.
This case is another example of why I insist on following the money. By following the money trail you will discover that the documents upon which the foreclosure relies referred to fictitious transactions. The documents are worthless, but nevertheless accepted in court unless a proper objection is made based upon preserving issues for trial and appeal by proper pleading and discovery.
Lawyers should take note of this profit opportunity. Most homeowners are looking for attorneys to take cases on contingency. Typical contingency fee is 40%. If these lawyers were on a typical contingency fee arrangement, their payday would have been around $1.2 million.
I should add that for every one of these judgments that are reported, I hear about dozens of confidential settlements that are of similar nature, to wit: clear title on the house, damages and attorneys fees.
Filed under: AMGAR, CORRUPTION, escrow agent, evidence, expert witness, Fannie MAe, foreclosure, foreclosure defenses, foreclosure mill, GARFIELD KELLEY AND WHITE, GTC | Honor, investment banking, Investor, MBS TRUSTEE, MODIFICATION, Mortgage, Pleading, securities fraud, Servicer, Title, TRUST BENEFICIARIES, trustee Tagged: | compensatory damages, contingency fee, discovery, FDIC, foreclosure, insurance, loss sharing, mortgage insurance, New Mexico, Pleading, punitive damages, Wells Fargo